Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Noticable Change in the Way we Do Things

Sparing Change is about the journey I am taking with my husband to live more of a frugal, healthy, self-sustainable life.  Looking back over the past 6 months, it amazes me how much we have evolved toward meeting our goals with the way we live our life every day.  I thought I would recap some of the changes we have made over the past several months.

One of the biggest changes we have made this year is our diet.  We have gone from eating a lot of carbs and sugar to eating a lot of protein, fruits and vegetables.  The difference has been amazing.  Not only are we losing weight (slowly), but we feel a lot better too.  There is very little processed food in our home anymore, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Our trash carrier does not offer recycling; however, hubby and I found that we can drive around the corner and take our own recyclables to the recycle bin less than a mile away from our home.  Not only is this helping the environment, it has drastically reduced the amount of trash we create in a week’s time.  On average, we have one trash bag full of garbage to go to the curb every week.  Sometimes, it is just one bag every 2 weeks because we forget about trash day!

Another thing we do to keep items out the landfill is reuse as much as we can.  Right now, we reuse plastic and glass containers with bulk items as much as possible.

Side Note:  I hate that shampoo comes in huge plastic bottles. Do you know of a bulk shampoo that is available in cardboard containers?

I am amazed at the rich soil we have back in the garden this year thanks to table scraps, leaves, chicken droppings and ashes from the wood burning stove!  Not only do the chickens love foraging in the garden that we left doormant this year, we are looking forward to that same garden producing an abundance of vegetables for us next year.  Instead of throwing away table scraps, taking up space in the trash and making the garbage smell, we throw it all into the garden area to compost.  Crushed up chicken eggs are also given to the chickens for calcium and tilled into the soil.

We must have thrown a pumpkin in the garden last year because in July, we had a vine growing and we had a couple of pumpkins form.  The chickens got to them before they ripened, but it was a pleasant surprise to see growing in the compost pile!

Stop the Use of Disposables
This year, we have pretty much done away with disposable kitchen products like paper plates and napkins.  We now use plates, glasses and cloth napkins.  I will admit that I am better at using the cloth napkins than hubby is, but at least he’s cut down quite a bit.  We still have paper towels in the cabinet that we purchased 6 months ago.

Feminine Products
I know this is not something that everyone wants to read about, but it is something that has changed in our household and I would like to pass along the information.  Thanks to a giveaway on the Frugal & Simple blog some months ago, I won a $50 gift card to LunaPads* which is a company that sells reusable feminine products.


With my gift certificate, I purchased this kit that included everything I needed to do away with tampons and pads.  At first, the Diva Cup was a bit awkward to use, but it has become second nature now.  Never again will I have to purchase pads or tampons! 

Buying Local
I would love to say that we buy a lot of our produce locally, but that is not the case.  We buy some produce locally, but not all.  I would like to improve in this area next year.  However, we found a local butcher that raises their meat and butchers it right there on the premesis (not in the store, but a building next to the store).  We buy the majority of our meat from this market now.  It is not the least expensive, but it is fresh and great quality.

Grow It Yourself
We have failed miserably this year on growing our fall, winter and spring produce and canning it, but we have been able to freeze a lot of our zucchini for later use.  Next year, we will try again with the garden.

However, we are growing our own flock of chickens to be butchered in the spring.  There is no other reason to have 17 chickens running around a property other than to butcher, and that is what we intend to do.

Going Paperless
Changes to my home-life are now carrying over to my professional-life.  I am a Purchasing Agent and unfortunately that means I do a lot of paper-pushing.  To cut back on the amount of paper I print and file, I have started to use electronic sources available to me.  This includes emailing purchase orders to vendors, faxing electronic purchase orders through a fax program installed on my computer to those vendors that prefer fax, and immediately entering PO’s into our system electronically as I place them.  In the past, I would print out all of my paperwork and then enter the orders the next morning, so doing it this way, not only am I saving paper and toner, I am also saving time by getting it done immediately. I would say that I have cut down the amount of paper I print by 50% over the past several months.  I would love to go completely paperless in my position, but at this point, that is not feasable. I am always looking for ways to cut back, though.

For the paper that I do use, I am able to recycle when I don’t need the paperwork any longer.  My employer shreds all documents and has agreed to give me the clippings to use as chicken bedding.  I clean the chicken bedding every week and put the soiled paper shavings back into the garden.  Not only does the paper decompose over time, it also retains water which leads to less watering in the summer months!

Ink Refills
The last area at work that I have been consciously working on is the amount of pens I go through. I had been using the company-provided “cheapy” pens, but they seemed to go out on me every few weeks which is a complete waste in my eyes.  I have since purchased a 2-pack of Zebra pens that are comfortable for me to write with, and I buy the refillable ink cartridges.  Not only do they last longer (over a month!), there is less waste.  I always thought I would lose them, but it is amazing when you spend money on your own pens, you tend to keep track of them much better than the “cheapy” pens.


Have you made any changes in the way you live life?  I would love to hear about it!

*Disclosure: I was in no way compensated to give LunaPads a positive review.  I purchased the product, use it and I am pleased that it is helping to keep sanitary products out of the landfills.


  1. Wonderful post you have here by approaching viewers through your best content with great knowledge. thanks for sharing and do keep up posting more.

    Reusable Containers

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! :-)

  2. I've been making changes in my life, working more towards a simpler life. We avoid most disposable products {using cloth napkins, wipes for our baby, diapers, feminine products, etc.}, recycle as well as question our consumption.

    My most recent attempt towards simple living is managing media consumption. I'm putting limits on myself and my children. I'm finding we're using media/technology more efficiently and have much more time to enjoy each other. I have allotted myself 2 hours per day which so far has been too much time, I finish what I need to do online and then proceed with life!

    1. I completely agree that technology can deplete time resources. We definitely feel more "connected" to one another when the TV and laptops are off and we are doing even simple daily tasks like feeding the chickens, exercising a very active puppy and taking care of the new kittens.

  3. We stopped our trash pickup, recycling everything except paper products which we do burn. We're live on a ridge top and have to drive our trash to a central pickup location which is too cumbersome. Easier to build brackets in the garage and drive to the center that takes everything, including phone books and magazines, once a month or two. I don't know about the plates vs paper when there is only 2 at home. Our expense would be electric for both hot water and the water out of the well plus soap- no dishwasher. For sandwiches or waffles (I don't use syrup) I use paper and then burn it or I suppose I could put those in the garden to break down. Now for things like roast with gravy, etc. I use dishes. Where do you get that bulk shampoo in boxes?

    1. Kathy,

      I cant find any bulk shampoo boxes, but would love to find them. I cant stand buying shampoo in containers. However, I have been going back to the no 'poo a couple times a week, so I am not using as much commercial shampoo again.

      As for using plates instead of paper - there are just two of us as well. I do a load of dishes every 2-3 days in the dishwasher. Good point about the water and soap.

  4. This is a wonderful list and is such a great reminder of some of the simple things we can do to affect change. I would love to invite you to link up with me at

    1. Thank you, Gretchen! It looks like I missed this week's, but I am a new follower on FB and will definitely get it up there on the next one. I love your blog! Looking forward to getting caught up.